THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

Yesterday in Italy we celebrated the biggest holiday of the summer season “Ferragosto,” the name Italians give to the August 15 solemnity of the Assumption. Ferragosto refers to the feriae augusti, meaning “holidays of August.”

These appear to have originated in 18 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus declared that the entire month of August would be dedicated to the feriae, a series of festivals and celebrations, the most important of which fell on the 13th and was dedicated to the goddess Diana.

Though the term ferragosto is pagan in origin, in Italy it refers to the mid-summer holidays but is interchangeable with the feast of the Assunta, the Assumption, strictly a religious celebration.

There has been a constant tradition in the Church that Mary was assumed into heaven and, as early as the fifth century, this feast was celebrated in Syria, spreading to other parts of the world over the centuries. In the 12th Century, this feast was celebrated in the city of Rome, and in France. From the 13th century onwards, this was a certain tenet of faith and in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared this dogma infallibly and ex cathedra. (franciscan media picture)

The pace of life is much slower in Rome in July and August, particularly August, and you’ll see a lot of chiuso per ferie (closed for vacation) signs posted on the shutters of stores, pharmacies, florists, some restaurants and coffee bars, newsstands, tobacconists, hardware stores, movie theaters, and small, neighborhood food markets known as alimentari or delicatessens. The phones of friends, including many who work in the Roman Curia, ring empty.

The peace and quiet of Rome, due to shuttered stores and greatly reduced traffic, is simply marvelous. It seems like you could shoot a cannon down the middle of some of the city’s main streets and not hit a thing!

The souvenir stores and mini-markets that dot every street in Rome will be open for business as usual. The markets open about 7 in the morning and close about midnight.

Life is extra quiet in the Vatican as well. When the Pope is away on vacation (or, in Francis’ case, on a reduced work schedule), this mini-state is almost deserted. The Vatican stores, pharmacy and medical center all have reduced hours because many employees are away on prolonged vacations.

Vacations are quite generous in the summer, at Christmas and at Easter for employees of Vatican City State or the Roman Curia. Employees who live outside of Italy receive an added three days of vacation for travel time and those who live outside of continental Europe receive five additional days. These vacations usually compensate for working six days a week the rest of the year, which makes weekend travel generally impossible.

Curial activity slows down in the summer, and stops completely on August 14, 15 and 16, all holidays. Only the press office and Secretariat of State are open for business, but with only a skeleton staff.

However, the last few years have been a vast improvement over the early years I lived in Italy, especially when there were very few supermarkets. Once upon a time, Italians bought most of their food at three places: the local alimentari (a kind of delicatessen),butcher and fruit and vegetable stores. Each one was assigned a letter – either A or B – for summer vacations. When A stores closed, B could not. And vice versa. This was to avoid all stores in one neighborhood closing at the same time, forcing people to go longer distances for food. Now we have supermarkets.

I can also remember when the local newspapers actually published the names of the few doctors, including specialists, who were available in Rome at vacation time, as well as a list of the few pharmacies that would be open in a given period.

Years ago, many coffee bars and restaurants closed for close to a month in the summer, especially because so few had air-conditioning. Since the historically hot and brutal summer of 2003 (four non-stop months of record heat, ending in mid-September), more and more stores, bars and restaurants have installed air-conditioning. Ten thousand people died in France that summer, and approximately 1,000 died in Italy.

By law, restaurants and bars must close one day a week and that day is always posted outside the entrance or on the shutter. Some overlook this law, while others ask special permission to open on a seventh day. For example, if a restaurant had its weekly closing on a Monday but Monday of a given year was Christmas or Ferragosto, the owner would ask permission from the proper authorities to open that day (or simply open, without the proper permission!). some simply have permission to be open 7 days a week!

Until the summer of 2013, Popes generally spent all or much of the summer period at Castelgandolfo. St. John Paul and Benedict XVI often spent some time in July in northern Italy at a vacation home belonging to a diocese or diocesan seminary. Long walks in the woods, some picnics, down time for reading and, in the case of Benedict, quiet time to play the piano, and cooler temps marked those periods. Francis prefers to stay at the Vatican the entire month of July on a “working vacation” with a very reduced schedule. July 2021, with colon surgery, was a bit unusual even for Francis!

You really have to spend an August in Rome (especially just before and after ferragosto) to understand its impact – how life here at that time of year is totally different from anything we’d know or have experienced in the U.S.

Aside from the heat that can take your breath away (and this year we have reached historically high temps), I love August in Rome. The streets are almost empty, fewer cars means fewer horns honking and, at times it seems there are even fewer ambulances with sirens blasting away. I love that there are fewer motorbikes! I’ve never had a car here – I walk, take a bus or when needed, hail a taxi, As far as busses go in August, there are a lot more seats available!

POPE: MARY’S ASSUMPTION, A “HUGE LEAP FORWARD FOR HUMANITY” – POST-ANGELUS REMARKS ON EGYPT, NIGERIA AND SHRINE OF LORETO – THE POPE EXTENDS LAURETAN JUBILEE TO DECEMBER 2021

POPE: MARY’S ASSUMPTION, A “HUGE LEAP FORWARD FOR HUMANITY”

During the Angelus on the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis said that the Virgin Mary shows us that our goal is not to gain the things here on earth, which are fleeting, but the homeland above, which is forever.

By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Saturday invited Christians to thank and praise God for the good that He has done in our life just as the Virgin did in the Magnificat, which became the source of her joy.

Pope Francis made the exhortation at the midday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on the day the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven.

The dogma of faith that Pope Pius XII proclaimed on November 1, 1950, asserts that the Virgin Mary, “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”  Pope Francis said the Assumption shines “as a sign of sure hope and solace to the People of God during its sojourn on earth,” as the Second Vatican Council puts it.

Addressing a holiday crowd from the window of his studio overlooking the square, the Pope said that in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, we celebrate an infinitely greater conquest than the “giant step for mankind” when man first set foot on the moon.  When the lowly Virgin of Nazareth set foot in paradise, body and spirit, he said, it was “the huge leap forward for humanity.”

This, the Pope said, gives us hope that “we are precious, destined to rise again. …God does not allow our bodies to vanish into nothing. With God, nothing is lost!”

Pope Francis thus invited all to ask ourselves whether we, like Mary, praise and thank God for the good things He does for us, for His love, forgiveness, tenderness and for giving us His Mother and our brothers and sisters.

“If we forget the good,” the Pope warned, “the heart shrinks. … But if, like Mary, we remember the great things that the Lord does, if at least once a day we were to ‘magnify’ Him, then our hearts will expand and our joy will increase.”

POST-ANGELUS REMARKS ON EGYPT, NIGERIA AND SHRINE OF LORETO

After reciting the Angelus, Francis said, “the Virgin Mary, whom we contemplate today in heavenly glory, is the ‘Mother of hope’. This title of hers has been recently included in the Litany of Loreto. Let us invoke her intercession for all the situations in the world that are most in need of hope: hope for peace, for justice, hope for a dignified life. Today I would like to pray in particular for the population of the northern region of Nigeria, victim of violence and terrorist attacks.”

He went on to say he was “following with particular attention the situation of the difficult negotiations regarding the Nile between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. I invite all parties to continue on the path of dialogue so that the Eternal River might continue to be a source of life that unites, not divides, that always nourishes friendship, prosperity, fraternity, and never enmity, misunderstanding or conflict. Let dialogue, dear brothers and sisters of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, let dialogue be your only choice, for the good of your dear populations and of the entire world.”

THE POPE EXTENDS LAURETAN JUBILEE TO DECEMBER 2021

Archbishop Fabio dal Cin, Pontifical Delegate to the Shrine at Loreto announced that Pope Francis is extending the Lauretan Jubilee to December 2021. In his words, he thanks the Pope for a gift that allows people to enjoy for another twelve months the benefits of this spiritual jubilee in this time of pandemic.

By Vatican News

On Saturday evening, to the applause of the faithful, Archbishop Fabio Dal Cin, Pontifical Delegate to the Shrine at Loreto announced the Pope’s decision to extend the Lauretan Jubilee until December 10, 2021. The Jubilee was granted on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation by Pope Benedict XV of Our Lady of Loreto, Patroness of all airmen.

Imparting the news from the Shrine of the Holy House, the archbishop said, “In this difficult time for mankind, Holy Mother Church gives us another twelve months to start anew with Christ, letting us be accompanied by Mary, a sign of consolation and sure hope for all.”

The Jubilee was officially inaugurated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with the opening of the Holy Door presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin but “unfortunately not celebrated in all its entirety because of the Covid-19 epidemic.” It was to end this coming December 10, 2020.

An Apostolic Decree issued on July 16 by the Apostolic Penitentiary states that there will be another twelve months to experience grace and forgiveness for all the faithful who visit the Pontifical Shrine, and this also extends to the many chapels of the civil airports and air force bases around the world.

 

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

 It is August and that means it’s holiday and vacation time in Italy. The Assunta, the Assumption of Mary is the biggest holiday/feast day of the summer, perhaps of the entire year, in Italy and for days people have been vacating Rome and Vatican City and Italy’s large cities for a resort or probably a second home near the sea or in the (much cooler!) mountains.

The Covid pandemic has meant that few Italians will be taking vacations overseas this year and many have opted for visits to the marvels of their own land.

How important are the August holidays? Notwithstanding the forced closures of stores, restaurants, etc. for months because of coronavirus – and a corresponding loss of income for many – Italians are still closing down shops and managing to get away for their annual vacation, either for several weeks or for just 5 or 6 days around Ferrragosto!

Saturday, Italy will celebrate the biggest holiday of the summer season “Ferragosto,” the name Italians give to the August 15 solemnity of the Assumption. Ferragosto refers to the feriae augusti, meaning “holidays of August.”

These appear to have originated in 18 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus declared that the entire month of August would be dedicated to the feriae, a series of festivals and celebrations, the most important of which fell on the 13th and was dedicated to the goddess Diana.

Though the term ferragosto is pagan in origin, in Italy it refers to the mid-summer holidays but is interchangeable with the feast of the Assunta, the Assumption, strictly a religious celebration.

There has been a constant tradition in the Church that Mary was assumed into heaven and, as early as the fifth century, this feast was celebrated in Syria, spreading to other parts of the world over the centuries. In the 12th Century, this feast was celebrated in the city of Rome, and in France. From the 13th century onwards, this was a certain tenet of faith and in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared this dogma infallibly and ex cathedra.

The pace of life is much slower in Rome in July and August, particularly August, and you’ll see a lot of chiuso per ferie (closed for vacation) signs posted on the shutters of stores, pharmacies, florists, some restaurants and coffee bars, newsstands, tobacconists, hardware stores, movie theaters, and small, neighborhood food markets known as alimentari or delicatessens.

The peace and quiet of Rome, due to shuttered stores and greatly reduced traffic, is actually marvellous (although it was like that the first months of Covid!). It seems like you could shoot a cannon down the middle of some of the city’s main streets and not hit a thing!

The souvenir stores and mini markets that dot every street in Rome will be open for business as usual. The markets open about 7 in the morning and close at or after midnight.

Life is extra quiet in the Vatican as well. When the Pope is away on vacation (or, in Francis’ case, on a reduced work schedule), this mini-state is almost deserted. The Vatican stores, pharmacy and medical center all have reduced hours because many employees are away on prolonged vacations. Vacations are quite generous in the summer, at Christmas and at Easter for employees of Vatican City State or the Roman Curia. Employees who live outside of Italy receive an added three days of vacation for travel time and those who live outside of continental Europe receive five additional days. These vacations usually compensate for working six days a week the rest of the year, which makes weekend travel generally impossible.

There are no public and few private audiences when the Pope is on vacation. Curial activity slows down in the summer, and stops completely on August 14, 15 and 16, all holidays. Only the press office and Secretariat of State are open for business, but with only a skeleton staff.

However, life now in August is a vast improvement over the early years I lived in Italy, especially when there were very few supermarkets. Once upon a time, Italians bought most of their food at three places: the local alimentari, the neighborhood butcher and the local fruit and vegetable store. Each one was assigned a letter – either A or B – for summer vacations. When A stores closed, B could not. And vice versa. This was to avoid all stores in one neighborhood closing at the same time, forcing people to go longer distances for food. Now we have supermarkets.

And here is one of the ubiquitous mini markets –

I can also remember when the local newspapers actually published the names of the few doctors, including specialists, who were available in Rome at vacation time, as well as a list of the few pharmacies that would be open in a given period.

Also years ago, many coffee bars and restaurants closed for close to a month in the summer, especially because so few had air-conditioning. Since the historically hot and brutal summer of 2003 (four non-stop months of record heat, ending in mid-September), more and more stores, bars and restaurants have installed air-conditioning. Ten thousand people died in France that summer, and approximately 1,000 died in Italy.

By law restaurants and bars must close one day a week and that day is always posted outside the entrance or on the shutter. Some overlook this law, while others ask special permission to open on a seventh day. For example, if a restaurant had its weekly closing on a Monday but Monday of a given year was Christmas or Ferragosto, the owner would ask permission from the proper authorities to open that day (or simply open, without the proper permission!).

Until the summer of 2013, Popes generally spent all or much of the summer period at Castelgandolfo. St. John Paul and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI often spent some time in July in northern Italy at a vacation home belonging to a diocese or diocesan seminary. Long walks in the woods, some picnics, somr down time for reading and, in the case of Benedict, quiet time to play the piano, and cooler temps marked those periods.

I took the following photos with an actual roll of film!

You really have to spend an August in Rome (especially just before and after ferragosto) to understand its impact – how life here at that time of year is totally different from anything you’d know or have experienced in the U.S.

Aside from the heat that can take your breath away, I love August in Rome. The streets are almost empty, fewer cars means fewer horns honking and, at times it seems there are even fewer ambulances with sirens blasting away. I love that there are fewer motorbikes! I’ve never had a car here – I walk, take a bus or when needed, hail a taxi, As far as busses go in August, there are a lot more seats available (part of that is also social distancing due to Covid-19)!

 

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

Today in Italy we are celebrating the biggest holiday of the summer season “Ferragosto,” the name Italians give to the August 15 solemnity of the Assumption. Ferragosto refers to the feriae augusti, meaning “holidays of August.” These appear to have originated in 18 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus declared that the entire month of August would be dedicated to the feriae, a series of festivals and celebrations, the most important of which fell on the 13th and was dedicated to the goddess Diana.

Though the term ferragosto is pagan in origin, in Italy it refers to the mid-summer holidays but is interchangeable with the feast of the Assunta, the Assumption, strictly a religious celebration. There has been a constant tradition in the Church that Mary was assumed into heaven, and as early as the fifth century, this feast was celebrated in Syria, spreading to other parts of the world over the centuries. In the 12th Century, this feast was celebrated in the city of Rome, and in France. From the 13th century onwards, this was a certain tenet of faith and in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared this dogma infallibly and ex cathedra.

The pace of life is much slower in Rome in July and August, particularly August, and you’ll see a lot of chiuso per ferie (closed for vacation) signs posted on the shutters of stores, pharmacies, florists, some restaurants and coffee bars, newsstands, tobacconists, hardware stores, movie theaters, and small, neighborhood food markets known as alimentari or delicatessens. The phones of friends, including many who work in the Roman Curia, ring empty.

The local toy store:

A local café:

I was out this morning for Mass and the peace and quiet of Rome, due to shuttered stores and greatly reduced traffic, was simply marvelous. It seemed like you could shoot a cannon down the middle of some of the city’s main streets and not hit a thing!

Mail Boxes

Another neighborhood store:

Souvenir stores and the mini markets that dot every street in Rome will be open for business as usual. The markets open about 7 in the morning and close at or after midnight.

Life is extra quiet in the Vatican. When the Pope is away on vacation (or, in Francis’ case, on a reduced work schedule in the Vatican), this mini-state is deserted. The Vatican stores, pharmacy and medical center all have reduced hours because many employees are away on prolonged vacations. Vacations are quite generous in the summer, at Christmas and at Easter for employees of Vatican City State or the Roman Curia. Employees who live outside of Italy receive an added three days of vacation for travel time and those who live outside of continental Europe receive five additional days.

These vacations usually compensate for working six days a week the rest of the year, which makes weekend travel generally impossible. There are few public and private audiences when the Pope is on vacation. Curial activity slows down in the summer, and stops completely on August 14, 15 and 16. Only the press office and Secretariat of State are open for business, but with only a skeleton staff.

However, 2017 is a vast improvement over the early years I lived in Italy, especially when there were very few supermarkets. Once upon a time, Italians bought most of their food at three places: the local alimentari, the neighborhood butcher and the local fruit and vegetable store. Each one was assigned a letter – either A or B – for summer vacations. When A stores closed, B could not. And vice versa. This was to avoid all stores in one neighborhood closing at the same time, forcing people to go longer distances for food.

I can also remember when the local newspapers actually published the names of the few doctors, including specialists, who were available in Rome at vacation time, as well as a list of the few pharmacies that would be open in a given period.

Years ago, many coffee bars and restaurants closed for close to a month in the summer, especially because so few had air-conditioning. Since the historically hot and brutal summer of 2003 (four non-stop months of record heat, ending in mid-September), more and more stores, bars and restaurants have installed air-conditioning. Ten thousand people died in France that summer, and approximately 1,000 died in Italy.

By law restaurants and bars must close one day a week and that day is always posted outside the entrance or on the shutter. Some overlook this law, while others ask special permission to open on a seventh day. For example, if a restaurant had its weekly closing on a Monday but Monday of a given year was Christmas or Ferragosto, the owner would ask permission from the proper authorities to open that day (or simply open, without the proper permission!).

Until the summer of 2013, Popes generally spent all or much of the summer period at Castelgandolfo. St. John Paul and Benedict XVI often spent some time in July in northern Italy at a vacation home belonging to a diocese or diocesan seminary. Long walks in the woods, some picnics, down time for reading and, in the case of Benedict, quiet time to play the piano, and cooler temps marked those periods.

That time in northern Italy was usually followed by two months at Castelgandolfo – August and September, with a return to Rome in late September. Both John Paul and Benedict loved the papal palace, its views of Lake Albano, the cool air, and the lovely gardens with their many spots for prayer and meditation. On August 15. they always celebrated Mass on the feast of the Assumption in the small local parish of San Tommaso.

Pope Francis does not spend time in the historic and beautiful Castelgandolfo residence as his predecessors have done. His has admitted to “not knowing” how to take a vacation. His idea of a vacation is not to change residences but to change his schedule just a bit, perhaps sleeping later, dedicating more time to reading, etc. In July there were no general audiences, nor were there guests at the morning Masses in the Santa Marta. General audiences resumed on August 2 but Francis’ August appointment schedule has a lot of blank pages.

The residents of Castelgandolfo miss “their” Pope. Businesses once thrived when John Paul and Benedict spent time there, not just in the summer but often after a long trip or an arduous Holy Week. Today those businesses are suffering and if you seen a sign on a building that says chiuso, it may be more permanent than just a few weeks of vacation.